laska Gov. Sean Parnell has proposed giving a tax break to the oil industry which would cost the state nearly $2 billion a year. The break’s purpose is to stimulate jobs through oil development, yet the oil industry has stated there is no guarantee that they will do any such thing.

What’s guaranteed is that the State of Alaska will lose nearly $2 billion annually which could be used to provide infrastructure (such as the proposed Haines Harbor expansion or repairs to the freight dock at Lutak needed to offload pipe for the state gas line proposal), new ferries, public services, education, or alternative energy development, all of which would benefit businesses including the oil industry.

It is important to compare the value of what we are being asked to give up with what is being offered. It seems only fair to expect a $2 billion payroll if we are to give up the same amount of money. Does anyone truly believe the oil industry will create an annual payroll equal to $2 billion? That’s 20,000 jobs, each paying $100,000 per year. If the governor thinks the state doesn’t need $2 billion annually, why not put it in the Permanent Fund? Two billion annually for five years comes to over $15,000 for every Alaskan. If it generated a measly 5 percent return, it would mean an extra $750 annually to your Permanent Fund dividend. Do you want the oil companies to have that $15,000? Apparently, Gov. Parnell does.

Mike Van Note